Archive for the ‘D1.8’ Category

Designer Critique – Sophie Weymouth

Sophie is a 3rd year student studying the “Design” at Leeds Metropolitan University. Originally from Liverpool/Merseyside, she has been described by friends as a happy, laid back and humble individual all attributes of which i can see reflected in her approach to work and through the final pieces she has produced. During her time at Leeds Met she has put together a well thought out portfolio of work based primarily around the textiles pathway of the course with a main focus on using sustainable production techniques and recycled textiles.

Although having had numerous original ideas backed up by her portfolio outside influences have also played a part in shaping her work. After an interview this is what she mentioned about her influences.

“I admire fashion designers like Vivienne Westwood for her funky designs (especially during the 60’s and 70’s) and her completely individual style and approach to designing – she basically invented the punk look; and Stella McCartney for her strong views and ethos behind her work.”

“Someone else who has influenced me greatly is Lizzie Harrison. Her fashion label is called Antiform Industries and all the clothes are made by local Leeds people and the materials are sourced from factory offcuts and clothes exchanges – anything that isn’t exchanged will be made into something else – nothing is ever thrown away! She always puts a strong emphasis on the fact that all the clothes are 100% sustainable.”

“Someone who has really made me think differently about design and approaches to design is Jonathan Chapman. I have always believed in emotionally durable design but have never quite been able to explain myself. When I hear him talk about design I’m like “yes! That’s what I wanted to say!” “.

All of what was mentioned about influential characters within her work can be seen in what she has produced.  A good way to describe the collection of work that Sophie has put together would be “Hippy chic”. What i mean by this is that her work has an almost rustic feel to it. Not all the stitches are perfect and some of the edges are frayed but all of this adds to the character of what she has produced. Her work has a very earnest crafted feel to it, as if a bit of love has gone into each piece rather than it feeling as if it had just been churned off of a production line. In turn i feel that the love that has gone into what she has made also has the ability to rub off onto their potential new owners as it is within everyone’s grasps to be able to appreciate the levels of craftsmanship that have gone into producing the things they own or care for. Whether she realises it or not i feel Sophie’s work goes beyond just being sustainable as a result of the  materials and processes she has used but also in terms of it being designed for longevity and emotional durability through her methods of production and personal style as a designer.

There were a couple products that Sophie crafted herself as part of a second year projects that i took a particular interest in. This is what she said about the project, pictures of which can be seen below the text. ” My two favourite products I have made are the sustainable lizard bag and the under-the-sea seat. I love the aesthetics of both products and love the fact that the lizard bag used to be a jumper. I made the seat out of MDF and bought the blue base fabric but all the embellishments on the cover are recycled fabrics. I enjoyed making both of these products immensely and due to it’s label, I believe the lizard bag is emotionally durable.”

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Overall i enjoy Sophie’s work with the crafted nature of its production being a welcome change for the majority of products that are about nowadays that feel as if they have been clinically engineered in a lab somewhere. She has definitely chosen the right pathway for her with her work however showing how she has been able to apply what she knows about textiles and fashion to other areas of the course such as the furniture pathway. With aims of follows her influences she would love to maybe follow in Lizzie Harrisons footsteps and set up a workshop in which to hold clothes exchanges and make new clothes under my own fashion label. This is definitely a fully achievable aim for her and it wouldn’t suprise if she went even further than to just set up the one business. With the changing climate of design swaying towards ever more sustainable and environmentally friendly methods of design and production Sophie definitely knows a fair amount about it and i feel is going about the exact right way of successfully becoming a valuable part of the design industry.

Skills Audit

I was having a search through all of the paper work i was handed at the beginning of the year. Most of it was to do with timetabling or what each of the modules for the year would be teaching us, all pretty much general introductory stuff. However within all this paperwork i found a skills audit that we had been asked to fill in but that i had forgotten to hand in. I filled in the half of the audit that had yet to be completed and by the end had a brilliant comparison of the skills i had when i joined the course back in September and then next to them had any improvements i had made of the course of the year.

This is my audit…

Looking at my audit confirmed my thoughts on what i had thought i had learnt during the year and how i thought i had maintained to keep any of the higher marks i had awarded myself. From the audit it can be seen that the main area of improvement was in the CAD and textiles sections which are the areas i had had the least experience in prior to the joining the course. Although having had no experience in these sections beforehand obviously means that the marks are going to go up quickly as soon as i do start learning about the subject it still stands as proof that the course did what it was supposed to of done (what i expected it to do) during the first year which is to give us an overall view of what is to come and to provide us with the necessary basic skills we will need to further ourselves in these areas should we choose to.

Overall looking at this skills audit has put me in a very positive mood and has at least helped me to prove to myself that i have learnt something this year and have furthered myself even if the grade i get at the end of the year doesn’t quite agree with this.

Designer Critique – Piet Hein Eek

Piet Hein Eek is a Dutch furniture, product and accessory designer that has also turned his hand to architecture and elements of building design. Hein Eeks work is said to be influenced by the work of Pouvre, Oud, Rietveld and Judd. Hein Eek graduated from the Eindhoven Design Academy in 1990 and since then has made a name for himself through his unique approach to design which unlike many of his peers is dictated by materials, techniques and amount of organisation rather than current fashion trends or new innovations in production procedures.

By using scrap  materials from industry and nature, working by hand and by tailoring the techniques he uses to each specific material and then following and trusting in the logical result of combining all of these things he has to put together an ongoing collection. A collection that consists of numerous unique products all of which have a rich character and rugged texture whilst still maintaining a personal and modern form.

I think their is a lot of reasoning behind why Hein Eek uses scrap materials but on a basic level i feel he does it to help keep his ideas fresh and original, “If I go for a walk in the woods I always come back with plastic bags full of pieces of the forest. It’s about seeing materials and techniques that are available for design, but not being used for that purpose. Scrap wood could be gold. It could be everything.” This is something i really like about his work. The way in which it all seems to be luck that spawns half of his creations and then the care and through processes he puts into channelling that luck.

Due to the look of his products being dictated by what they are made of and how  best to work that material his work does not have one specific visual style but instead similarities can be sooner be seen in his methods of construction rather than the final appearance of each piece. It can be said that his work has far more of a feel than a look with this idea being reflected in his philosophical design views.

In an interview in a few years ago Hein Eek said “Recycling is good but if you calculate everything its not actually much better because of how much energy it takes to move the material to be recycled. If you account for everything  often the balance isn’t as clear as you thought it could be. For me, it’s about quality and creating a look that is timeless rather than a design that is fashionable.” He then goes on to say ” its about seeing materials and techniques that are available for design but are not being used for that purpose”, “It has far more to do with and awareness of the value of products materials and energy”.

Through acting upon what he has said Hein Eek has managed to carve out his own niche as a designer. By creating products in the way he does Hein Eek has managed to successfully go against today’s throw away culture by helping to define what is relevant in today’s society by turning our attention towards what constitutes as beauty and what constitutes as waste. Each piece he has produced has been so lovingly cared about and considered during its production that i feel there is no way this love cannot be transferred to whoever buys it aslong as they appreciate for its simplicity and honesty to it simply being what it is and where it originally came from.

Because his products have this timeless beauty about them and because of the care that has been put into their creation, staying true to the material and rejuvenating it back into a state of value i feel he is a true example of what a modern day sustainable designer should be. In each of his pieces elements of re-use in design, recycling, design for longevity and influencing the behaviour of other to be more sustainable can be seen, meaning he has truly incorporated his design philosophy into everyone of his actions and decisions.

A final thought about Hein Eeks work comes form a quote by him that i think sort of defines his plight within the design industry, “I am not thinking about what the market wants, but what the market should want. I try to change people’s taste. I try to change their values or feeling of quality or beauty. I want to persuade people to see what I see.” This is something i feel more designers should be doing nowadays. They shouldn’t just be in it for the money but if they truly cared they would be designing to make a change that is both beneficial for people but also the environment we all live in.